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TEPCO admits downplaying tsunami risk TOKYO: The operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant on Friday admitted it had played down the risks of a tsunami to the facility for fear it would be forced to shut it down.   "There was a latent fear that plant shutdown would be required until severe accident measures were put in place," Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said in a report.   Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012 ...

China denies visa to Japanese in Taiwan orchestra  TAIPEI: China has denied visas to three Japanese members of a Taiwanese symphony orchestra ahead of a planned mainland tour, an official said Friday, linking the move to a simmering territorial row.   The National Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan's leading classical ensemble, plans to go ahead with its visit to China despite the visa denials, which come amid tension between Beijing and Tokyo over an island cluster in the East China Sea.   "The Japanese musicians didn't get the visas ...
Earthquake shakes eastern Japan, no tsunami warning issued  TOKYO: An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5 hit eastern Japan on Friday, public broadcaster NHK said.   There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning was issued.   Copyright Reuters, 2012 ...
6.7 magnitude quake strikes off Indonesia JAKARTA: A 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck off Indonesia's easternmost province of Papua on Friday, the US Geological Survey said, with reports of minor damage to some houses on remote islands but no tsunami warning issued.   The epicentre of the quake, which struck at 9:31 am (0131 GMT), was 247 kilometres (153 miles) southwest of Nabire in Papua and 108 kilometres north of Dobo in the Aru Islands, USGS said. It hit at a depth of 24 ...
Two Uzbek climbers missing after Nepal avalanche KATHMANDU: Two mountaineers from Uzbekistan have gone missing after they were hit by an avalanche while trying to scale the 8,091-metre (26,550-feet) Annapurna mountain in Nepal, officials said Thursday.   Experienced Uzbek climber Ilyas Tukhvatullin, 54, and his climbing partner Ivan Lobanov, 51, were swept away on Monday evening and have not been found.   "They were at camp two at around 6,500 metres and their colleagues informed the base camp after they were hit by an avalanche," Tilak ...
China BEIJING: A senior scientist from China's lunar exploration program has revealed more details about the Chang'e-3 satellite, which will be launched in 2013, and China's plans to explore Mars.   "We have done many successful experiments to achieve the soft landing, which is a mission of Chang'e-3 that differs from Chang'e-1 and Chang'e-2," Ouyang Ziyuan, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and also the chief scientist of China's lunar orbiter project Chang'e series, said at ...
Japan, South Korea, US to hold talks on North Korea TOKYO: Top nuclear negotiators from Japan, South Korea and the United States will meet next week in Tokyo to discuss North Korea, the Japanese foreign ministry said on Thursday.   They will confirm close cooperation to address North Korean issues, it said, as Tokyo and Seoul remain entangled in a still-fresh territorial dispute.   US special representative for North Korea policy Glyn Davies, Seoul's Lim Sung-Nam, envoy for the six-nation denuclearisation forum, and Japanese senior official Shinsuke Sugiyama will ...

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Foreign Debt $61.805bn
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